The "Murph" Story

Every Boxing Day, we do a workout called “Murph”. It’s deceptively hard.
We start with a mile run. Then we split up 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups and 300 squats before heading out on another mile run.
We’ve done “Murph” on Boxing Day since 2008. Back then, I thought everyone would WANT to come to the gym on the 26th, so I opened for our full hours. Only Eric Ross and Ray Gowlett showed up. We did “Murph” on treadmills. 2/3 of us puked. We all ripped our hands. We thought we were hardcore.
This is the story of Lt. Michael P. Murphy – the real “Murph” – who drew fire on himself to save his SEAL team in Afghanistan. He died while calling backup to save his men. THAT is hardcore. But that’s not us: we don’t aspire to physical sacrifice nor compare our workouts to combat. We don’t want you to die in the name of fitness.
We DO want you to measure yourself against a true bar.
“How was your workout today?” isn’t a question we ask at Catalyst. Instead, we ask:
“Are you faster than last year?”
“Can you do more pushups than you could in 2015?”
“Are you happier when you leave than when you arrived?”
These are how we measure the effects of our program at Catalyst in 2016. We measure results because we’re in the results business, not the membership business.
For most of us, “Happy” is our primary goal. I love showing up and doing Murph because YOU’RE going to be there, too. Not because I’m going to go sub-40:00 anymore, but because it’s hard, and I overate yesterday, and the weather isn’t perfect, and I hate having wet feet…and I know you do, too. But you’ll be there and we’ll laugh about it later.
Not all of our workouts are measuring sticks, but “Murph” is one. We only do it on the 26th of December, and we do it as hard as we can. See you at 9am.
Veteran CrossFitters only, please. To beginners: see you tomorrow!
CrossFit is the most effective pursuit of fitness in the world. Its strong dosage necessitates a thoughtful prescription.
Pushups, squats, some type of flexed-arm hang…pretty simple stuff, right? And anyone can do a mile. But this is the ONE workout per year where we welcome CrossFit veterans only.
We allow newbies at every CrossFit group, save this. The reason is its simplicity: you can always do one more pushup. And eventually, “one more pushup” can become “one more than I should.” It’s easier to overdo a workout with bodyweight movements than one with a heavy barbell, because you can always pick yourself up off the floor one more time. The group environment is encouraging: it’s easy to get swept away by the positive energy and simply forget when to stop. We can use that tool to help you…starting tomorrow.